State And Federal Grand Jury And Pre-Indictment Defense
Whenever a defense attorney gets the chance to represent a client prior to a grand jury’s return of an indictment, the client stands to benefit in many ways. The best result is to convince the government not to pursue charges at all, but more often, a defense lawyer experienced with grand jury investigations can influence the pre-indictment proceedings to the client’s advantage. Effective intervention at the grand jury stage can mean that the most serious potential charges are never returned against you.
For a consultation about the best ways to protect your interests during the grand jury phase of a criminal investigation, contact the Cincinnati law firm of Michael K. Allen & Associates. As the former Hamilton County prosecuting attorney, Mike Allen knows how prosecutors work with investigators to develop cases in the pre-indictment phase, and knows how potential defendants can help or hurt themselves while the grand jury considers the preliminary evidence.
Virtually all major federal prosecutions and most Ohio felony criminal cases are charged by grand jury indictment. That means that the government’s attorneys present evidence from an ongoing criminal investigation to a grand jury that then decides whether to return formal charges against one or more defendants in the form of an indictment. Although you cannot be represented by a lawyer in the grand jury room, your counsel can achieve a great deal to protect your interests in such ways as the following:
- Clarify your status in the investigation: are you the target, a subject, a witness, or other person of interest?
- Monitor the grand jury proceedings by interviewing witnesses and maintaining close contact with the prosecution
- Undertake an independent investigation of the facts that can deflect the prosecution’s interest away from you
- Advise you about the best response to subpoenas for documents or testimony, contacts from law enforcement agents, or getting ready to testify before a grand jury
- Negotiate the turnover of documents or computer software as an alternative to an unannounced raid at your home or place of business
In the federal system, pre-indictment defense during grand jury investigations can be most effective in
fraud cases, corruption cases, and drug cases. In the Ohio system, early intervention is highly advisable in sex crimes, drug cases, fraud and white collar crimes, and property offenses such as auto theft or burglary.
At the very least, sound legal advice in the pre-indictment stage will help protect you from the risk of mistakes that can result in such charges as perjury or obstruction of justice. To learn more about the benefit of experienced representation during a grand jury investigation, contact Cincinnati criminal defense attorney Mike Allen for a consultation.